Hi! Next year I'm going to live in France for Erasmus and it will be my first experience living alone (without my parents) and abroad. Could you give me some tips about it, please??
Hi! Looks like we’re in the same boat - I’m going to the UK with Erasmus this September and I’ve never lived by myself either (though I have been on vacation alone before). I don’t know what will happen either but I’m very much looking forward to it! I’ll try my best to give you some advice :) I’ll do a masterpost about this in October, but I guess you don’t want to wait that long haha
First, remember that Europe is comparatively small. You’re not going to the end of the world, and your parents are max. a 5 hour flight away (depending on where you’re from). If absolutely everything fails and you want to go home for the weekend, you can. It doesn’t mean you should or that you’ll even want to, but I think it’s good to remember that if everything feels overwhelming.
Second: Living alone is scary, but you won’t be alone! If you’re staying in dorms (which you might not in France), there’ll be other people, and otherwise you’ll probably live together with roommates who are in the same boat as you. You’ll learn together! If you want to prepare for the challenge (your roommates will love you), learn how to cook and clean beforehand (what supplies you need, some basic recipes etc). It’s what I’m doing too, and I already feel much more independent. I bought Martha Stewart’s Housekeeping Handbook (it’s a huge thing and everything you could possibly need to know is in it) and I’ll also bring that with me to the UK for emergencies.
For the abroad part: Living alone is scary on its own, but you’ll also be in an unfamiliar environment which can make it even more of a challenge. But again: You’re not doing a complete 180 in cultural environment, because we’re in Europe and we more or less get along and agree on most cultural norms. Shopping, Netflix, amazon, restaurants etc etc are basically the same everywhere, just in French (which you probs already know really well). Apart from trying to not get run over in the UK’s weird left-side traffic and working out how self-service checkouts function, I don’t expect many big differences in the day-to-day life (based on the weeks I spent in Edinburgh plus several stays in London). Try to continue the hobbies you had at home so you won’t feel like you abandoned everything!
Also, a tip from over-organiser yours truly: Plan as much as you can beforehand. Insurances, flights, bank cards are a given, but also think about getting a public transport card, a railcard, adapters if needed, a list of things you immediately need to buy there and a list of things you pack or send yourself via mail, a map of France where you can mark all the things you want to visit, a map of your campus/district where you mark a supermarket, pharmacy, bus stop, underground stop, hospital, doctors, library, police, the way to class, the nearest shopping centre, and other things you need to know. You can also look up if there are specialty shops in your area that sell stuff from your home country, or if there are restaurants serving food from there! That way, you won’t go to completely unknown territory and it will seem less scary! :)
I hope this helped! I wish you an amazing time in France <3